This full-length portrait shows Heneage Finch as a middle-aged man in his ceremonial dress of velvet cloak and fur trim, with a sword at his waist. Finch was the son of Heneage Finch, the first Earl of Aylesford and Elizabeth Banks. After graduating from Christ Church, Oxford University in 1700, Heneage married Mary Fisher in 1712 in Great Packington in Leicestershire. He was the Tory Member of Parliament for Maidstone from 1704 to 1705, and for Surrey between 1710 and 1719. He held the office of Master of the Jewel Office between 1711 and 1716. He succeeded to the title of 2nd Earl of Aylesford in 1719 and to the title of 2nd Baron of Guernsey in the same year. He had four children between 1713 and 1722.
On 23 July 1937, this work was sold through Christie’s, London [Lot 61], from the collection of Heneage Michael Charles Finch, ninth Earl of Aylesford, having been removed from Packington Hall, Warwickshire. It was purchased by art dealer Joseph Joel Duveen, Baron Duveen (1869-1939), perhaps acting on behalf of the Ministry of Works (a former Government Department then responsible for the collection of art).
Thomas Hudson, portrait painter and art collector, was born in Devon. He was a pupil of Jonathan Richardson, whose daughter he married. He worked mostly in the West Country and employed his brother, Alexander (a drapery painter) and Joseph van Aken. He was one of the artists who met at Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in London in the 1740s, (Hogarth, Hayman, Ramsay and Rysbrack were others). In 1748, he travelled to France and the Low Countries with Hogarth, Hayman and van Aken and, in 1752, visited Rome with Roubiliac. Among his distinguished apprentices were Reynolds, Wright of Derby and Mortimer. During the 1740s and 1750s he enjoyed great success but later lost commissions to Reynolds. He retired to Twickenham where he died, aged about 77.
Collection of the Master of the Jewel Office[?]; collection of Heneage Michael Charles Finch, ninth Earl of Aylesford of Packington Hall, Warwickshire; by whom sold through Christie’s, London, on 23 July 1937 (Lot 61); from which sale purchased by art dealer Joseph Joel Duveen, Baron Duveen (1869-1939) on behalf of the Ministry of Works
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